Turning steering wheel while not moving

I’m learning how to drive at the moment. While parking, my instructor

tells me to turn my steering wheel completely to the right and then

use the gas pedal to back the car. My sister (which I’m practicing

with) tells me to NEVER do that because it will break the transmission

or something. Who is right? Is it bad for a car to turn the steering

wheel if you’re not moving?

Thanks for answering (if there isn’t only spammer on the site)

This is just my opinion, but I prefer to have the car moving slowly when turning the steering wheel to minimize the strain on the power steering pump (this is probably what your sister meant). However do what the instructor tells you for the driving test.

One more thing, don’t force the wheel against the stop, that puts a lot of strain on the pump.

Ed B.

Modern cars aren’t going to care. Back in the old days people were probably concerned about strain on their steering components and/or doing damage to the tires.

I agree with edb1961, once you’ve turned the wheels all the way to the left or right, ease up immediately.

Your car doesn’t care and won’t be harmed. However, your front tires will care. If you turn the steering wheel enough while not moving, you’ll wear a flat spot on the front tires.

Just do what your diving instructor says. Your sister is talking out of her tailpipe.

Once you gain a little more experience driving, you might want to get into the habit of letting the car roll slowly as you turn the wheels. Turning the wheels while you are stopped causes a little extra wear to the tires, so it is something you should avoid when possible. However, listen to your driving instructor. He/she knows more than your sister…a lot more.

Also, listen to the others about turning the steering wheel all the way to the stop. If you do this and listen closely, you might be able to hear the power steering pump straining. Once you hit the final stop, back off a little on the steering wheel. Interestingly, the first person to tell me this was my driving instructor.

It’s a rear bad habit to get into. On gravel, sand, ice or snow it may not cause any undo strain on steering and front end components. But,as traction increases, you’re asking the power steering and related components to begin working against each other. This is especially true in deep mud or when your car’s wheels are already jammed against a curb.

As a general rule, be moving while turning, realizing there are some parking instances with traffic screaming at you to get out of the way, it becomes the only practical solution. It’s a compromise bad habit.

You’re sister is half right; it’s not good, but what it has to do with the transmission some one will have to explain that to me.

When you are learning something new, esp. when it is practice not theory, it helps to go in baby steps. Parallel parking is one of those kinds of things. Its like when you weave your first blanket, you start with stripes and work up to patterns later. so when first parking, you turn the wheel with the car stopped, later you get how to do it, and then you can be more smooth in your parking, and you can be a big show off too, and stun everyone with your new found ability to turn, back and fit that caddy into a spot even a motor bike would have a hard time getting comfortable in. ignor yer sis, and do what the instructor tells ya for now.

If you search on the Internet you will find little or no answers.
This appears to be an “Old Myth” - nothing else.
If there were real ‘wearing’ or tires or any other ‘problem-causing’ habits/situations the car manufacturers will include these information in the car manual.
I’ll invite everyone here to check your car’s user’s manual in which you’ll find … nothing about this.
Therefore, as a conclusion: This as just an “Old Myth” that no longer applies to tires nor transmission nor direction components, etc. I’d love to see this in the TV show “Myth-busters” though.

I am writing here because my Daughter is learning how to drive and got the same story from 2 different instructors. I think the instructors should worry first (and foremost) about the kids proper/correct way of driving and less about their car.

Mythbusters hasn’t done any new shows since 2018, and the OP posted his/her question in 2010.

That’s fine, thanks. I’m always trying to stop fake news, rumors and myths. And this one is still pretty much alive.

If you hadn’t revived it after a decade, I think that it would have remained dormant.


I prefer turning the wheels once you start moving, tire scrub while stopped is probably only important to us old farts that think a penny is worth picking up, My only other concern is you may hit the gas too hard while backing out of a parking spot or have to readjust quickly to avoid damage.

Turning the wheel while not moving not only strains the power steering pump, but every component of the steering system. As far as the spam thing, we have a very vigilant moderator, @cdaquila, who keeps us very free of spam.


The Spam comment was made 10 years ago .

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